Could the Real Steel scenario actually happen?

Posted 11 Oct 2011 at 15:48 UTC by John_RobotsPodcast Share This

This won't be a full-blown review, just a taste. Real Steel, for all the formidable machines on screen, and the occasional discussion of the technology behind them, is primarily a human story. Leaving that alone entirely, in the interest of avoiding spoilers, and cutting directly to the robots, a question which immediately occurs to me is how realistic robot boxing as a gladiator sport might be, or, put another way, would the amount of interest create a market large enough to sustain the development (and destruction) of interesting machines, with sophisticated design and behaviors? My naive guess is that the answer is probably "yes", and this movie might just be enough to jumpstart that business, and might also serve to establish a standard that would effectively differentiate robot boxing from the mostly wheeled battle bots of recent years, i.e. two legs, a torso, two arms, one or more heads sitting between the shoulders on top of the torso, and the absence of blades or spiked weapons. Given the boxing connection, there would also probably be weight classes. What could you put together within the limit of 250 Kg, for instance? How about 500 Kg? Would such a development serve to advance robotics in general? Hard to say. If it were to become highly competitive, probably yes.

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